CNA Staff, May 20, 2020 / 06:30 am
Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, the 30th superior general of the Society of Jesus, died Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan, at the age of 84.
The Spanish priest led the Jesuits, the world’s largest men’s religious order, from 2008 to 2016.
In a condolence message May 20, his successor, Fr. Arturo Sosa, said that Nicolás’ time as Superior General was marked by “his sense of humor, his courage, his humility and his close relationship with Pope Francis,” the first Jesuit pope.
“All of us here at the Jesuit General Curia mourn him and a special Mass will be offered here in Rome as soon as we can organize it. Because of travel restrictions just now, I cannot travel to Japan for the funeral but I assure all his many friends there of my closeness, my compassion and my condolences,” he said.
Nicolás, who had been ill for some time, met with Pope Francis for a final time on Nov. 26, 2019, during the papal visit to Japan.
In 2008, he was elected Superior General of the Jesuits in the second round of voting, succeeding Fr. Peters Hans Kolvenbach.
In an interview that year, Nicolás described his approach to leadership.
“For everything -- whether it is spirituality or social apostolate, whatever it might be -- there is no shortcut. There is always a long way; real change and real insights come through a long process. The first step in all of them is contact -- contact with persons, contact with situations,” he said.